For both those living with cognitive impairment and those who love them, finding the right place for dedicated memory care can be complicated. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you search for a community that provides excellent full-time memory care in a warm and welcoming environment.
1) Do your homework on the staff
The people who will care for your loved one matter the most in making your decision. The ratio of one staff member to six patients, available 24 hours, is a good sign of quality care. Beyond the numbers, look at the level of care. Are staff members trained in dementia-specific practices? How do they deal with challenges, such as difficult behavior, that often accompany Alzheimer’s disease and dementia?
Memory decline is best managed by pairing holistic methods with therapeutic programs, such as Landmarks for Living®, which increase the quality of life. Does the community offer cognitive retraining and specialized physical therapy, as well as personal nutrition plans? The Terraces memory care team does this by emphasizing lifestyle guidance along with nursing care. It's also important to understand how the staff will communicate with family members for regular updates and meetings.
2) Find a peaceful place
Because sensory overload is often a symptom of dementia and Alzheimer’s, a residence should feature calming spaces that reduce stress. Search for a place that has the potential to feel like home, but one in which residents are not isolated. Noise levels should be kept to a minimum, with settings amid nature to promote tranquility.
Assisted living at the Terraces achieves this balance in homes with just 16 comforting private suites. Communal spaces include an open kitchen and opportunities for engagement under one roof.
The ability to personalize living space is also important. Can residents decorate with favorite furnishings and mementos from their homes? Are there “memory boxes?” Attentive communities, including the Terraces, use these boxes for keepsakes and reminders of loved ones. Displaying photos and other personal items, help residents recognize their rooms and acquaints staff with individuals’ life experiences.
Outdoor areas also play a vital role in the mental wellbeing of those in need of memory care. Some time spent in the Terraces’ gardens, courtyards and tree-lined walking trails can work wonders for residents.
3) Look for a range of activities
While sensory overload is an issue, some people in memory care can also require near-constant engagement. Find a place with an ongoing senior-living activities program that keeps your loved one as absorbed, entertained and connected with others as they desire. People coping with cognitive issues are often awake after hours.
At the Terraces, community members enjoy music appreciation, art sessions, and nature outings with the Green Thumb Garden Club. Residents join professional instructors for tai chi and yoga, while a parade of visiting performers includes musicians, acapella groups, and dance troupes.
4) Make sure it’s a good match
Even the best of senior-living communities will not be the right fit for every family. Consider the distance you will have to travel to see your loved one. Take into account their preferences and hobbies that promote mental health, and ask what is most important to them.
Does the community allow residents to bring their beloved pets, as with the Terraces? Is a love of good food integral to life? If so, restaurant-style dining and chef-prepared cuisine, as you find at The Terraces, will be appealing.
Memories may grow dim, but the need to feel love, joy, and companionship never entirely fades. Choosing the right place for memory care ensures that your loved one lives a fully realized life in the face of cognitive challenges.